Miami Dolphins (0-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) Line: Jaguars by 3. Total: 48. Thursday, Sept. 24, 8:20 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
WEEK 2 RECAP: We had a nice start to the 2020 season, going 9-6-1, +$1,090 in Week 1 and then 13-3 in Week 2. My only big mistake was the four-unit loss on the Eagles -2.5. I really thought Philadelphia would improve with Lane Johnson, Miles Sanders and Javon Hargrave returning. I greatly underestimated how bad the Eagles' linebacking corps is, as well as the Rams' ability to exploit it with play-action fakes and end-arounds.
Still, I'm thrilled about the results thus far, as we're up $3,000 through two weeks. Let's keep it going!
My Week 3 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
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In this book, I talk about the top NFL Draft busts, and what would've happened had each team gone a different route. Also, I discuss why Roger Goodell has banned us from the NFL Combine.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: The Jaguars' front office had every intention of losing games purposely in attempt to land Trevor Lawrence atop the 2021 NFL Draft. The players and coaching staff didn't get the memo, especially Gardner Minshew, who has made great strides in his second year. Minshew's accuracy and pocket presence have both improved, and it seems as though there's at least a chance that he's the long-term solution at the position.
If so, Minshew should do well against the Dolphins, especially if Byron Jones is sidelined. The star cornerback left early last week, and it may be difficult for him to get ready with just three days of rest. Miami was already weak at linebacker, so Minshew will have plenty of weaknesses to exploit, just as Josh Allen did this past Sunday.
The Dolphins will need to pressure Minshew to disrupt the Jaguars' scoring attack. This could prove to be difficult, as their pass rush is rather lackluster.
MIAMI OFFENSE: Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled in the opener, but performed much better last week. He wouldn't have been battling an easier defense while going up the Bills under ordinary circumstances, but Buffalo was missing its top two linebackers. This allowed Fitzpatrick to attack the middle of the field successfully.
The Jaguars have a solid linebacking corps, but Fitzpatrick will be able to look elsewhere. Jacksonville's secondary is comprised of C.J. Henderson and no one else, so Fitzpatrick should be able to pick up where Ryan Tannehill left off following his spectacular Week 2 performance. I'm sure Fitzpatrick will want Preston Williams to not drop a touchdown this week.
Like the Dolphins, the Jaguars don't have much in the pass-rushing department because they got rid of most of their front-seven talent during their failed attempt to tank. Fitzpatrick won't face much pressure as a result.
RECAP: I don't really see an edge in this game outside of the advance spread movement. The line on this game prior to Week 2 was Jacksonville -1. Now, it's -3, reaching a key number. This moved because the Jaguars nearly beat the Titans, but it must be pointed out that Tennessee was in a very difficult spot after playing the late game the previous Monday night.
I think the most likely results of this game are the Jaguars winning by three and the Dolphins winning by three. We're getting a push or a win by going with Miami +3, so that'll be the side I choose.
Our Week 3 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I'm still leaning with the Dolphins as long as this line is +3. While the Dolphins will be down Byron Jones, the Jaguars will be missing center Brandon Linder. This is a wash as far as I'm concerned.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There has been some major sharp money coming in on the Dolphins to drag this line down to +2.5 in most places. I still like the Dolphins, but not enough to bet them. If you want to wager Miami, do one of two things: One, pay up for +3, which you can do for -125 vig at BetUS. Two, just go with the moneyline, which is +125 at BetUS or Bookmaker. If you like the Jaguars, just wager on the -2.5.
Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) at New England Patriots (2-0) Line: Patriots by 6.5. Total: 47. Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Patriots.
My overrated-underrated feature was posted in this spot the past couple of years. I thought it would be better if there was less clutter on this page, so I set up a new NFL Overrated and Underrated Teams page that will be updated every Monday. I have overrated and underrated teams listed there, and some may shock you!
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: It's nice to see Cam Newton fully healthy again. This isn't a sight we've enjoyed for several years, but he's back to being 100 percent, as evidenced by his special performance Sunday night, albeit in a loss to the Seahawks.
If the Seahawks couldn't contain Newton with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, what are the Raiders planning on doing with their linebacking corps if Nick Kwiatkoski is out again? I can't see Las Vegas doing much to contain Newton as a runner at all. Newton should also have some success as a passer, given the struggles the Raiders have in their secondary. First-round rookie cornerback Damon Arnette has not impressed thus far, to say the least, so this will be an area Bill Belichick and his staff know they can attack.
The Patriots don't have much of a running game outside of Newton, so the Raiders won't have to worry about stopping Sony Michel. That said, James White could have a nice performance after seeing what Alvin Kamara did as a receiver out of the backfield versus the Raiders. White will likely have an inspired performance after losing his father to a car crash over the weekend.
LAS VEGAS OFFENSE: Derek Carr played well Monday night against the Saints, as Jon Gruden and offensive coordinator Greg Olson came up with a brilliant plan to attack Malcolm Jenkins repeatedly. Jenkins looked like he was 50 years old when trying to cover Darren Waller and the other Raider threats.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, it's impossible to find a liability in the Patriots' defensive backfield. Belichick boasts the best secondary in the NFL, and his defense has done a great job of limiting the tight ends it has battled thus far. Neither Mike Gesicki nor Greg Olsen are Darren Waller, but they're not slouches either. Belichick will have a good game plan for defending Waller, so Derek Carr will have to look elsewhere. The problem there is that Carr is gun-shy when pulling the trigger to anyone not named Waller.
Josh Jacobs will also have some problems. Jacobs is one of the best pure runners in the NFL, but the Patriots have defended the run very well thus far in 2020. Plus, Jacobs was a bit banged up in the Monday night game, so it's fair to wonder if he'll be 100 percent on a shortened rest period.
RECAP: This is a rough spot for the Raiders. They were looking forward to that Monday night game against the Saints the moment the schedule was released. They made a huge statement victory, but now must travel to the East Coast to play an early game on a short work week. There might be some fatigue on the Raiders' part. Remember, many NFL athletes aren't 100-percent conditioned because of the weird offseason.
Meanwhile, Belichick is ready to take down a 2-0 team off a loss. He's had a 24-hour head start on the Raiders in preparing for this game. A whole day for Belichick is like an entire week for an ordinary head coach. Belichick should be able to use this to his advantage by out-scheming a tired Raider squad.
Some may think this spread is too high, including me at first glance; I made this line -4.5. However, the computer model believes New England -8 is correct. I'm going to bet the Patriots for a couple of units.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This line has jumped to -6.5 in some places, and the -6s require -115 or -120 vig. This is sharp money betting up New England.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Raiders are going to be down at least two offensive linemen in this game, as Trent Brown and Richie Incognito have been ruled out already. Top backup lineman Denzelle Good also doesn't seem completely healthy, and neither does Darren Waller, who was able to get in just one limited practice this week. The Patriots will be a bit short-handed as well with David Andrews and James White sidelined, but they have a big edge in the injury department because they're not down two or three blockers like the Raiders are. I'm going to increase my unit count to four.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread shot up in the blink of an eye. It was -6 when I woke up, and then it was -6.5 when the Julio Jones news broke. Now, it's -7. There's some serious professional money on the Patriots, perhaps because Josh Jacobs is banged up. Jacobs will play, but it sounds like Jacobs will be limited. This spread is -7 -105 at FanDuel and BetUS, but you can get -6.5 -116 at Bookmaker. It's worth paying 16 cents on the dollar for seven because it's the second-most-important key number.
The Motivation. Edge: Patriots.
The Raiders are coming off a big win in their Vegas debut, and they have to travel to the East Coast to play an early game on a short week.
Los Angeles Rams (2-0) at Buffalo Bills (2-0) Line: Bills by 2.5. Total: 46.5. Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot. The highest-bet sides were 44-40-2 last season and 3-2 heading into Week 2.
Here are the teams getting the most bets last week:
Highest-bet sides were an even 4-4 against the spread in Week 2. The books profited when accounting for the vig (plus teasers and parlays.)
Here are the teams getting the most bets this week:
There aren't as many highly bet sides this week, but there are still six getting 80 percent or more of the money. It should surprise no one that they are all favorites, and all but one (Atlanta) is coming off a win.
LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: Hats off to Sean McVay, who absolutely destroyed my four-unit selection on the Eagles. He had such an incredible game plan to combat the Eagles' miserable linebackers. Jared Goff roasted the Eagles repeatedly with play-action fakes to Tyler Higbee, all while Philadelphia overpursued on end-arounds. Goff didn't fire an incompletion until there were three minutes remaining in the half.
Mike Gesicki torched the Bills last week, so the Goff-to-Higbee connection should remain hot depending on two things, or rather, linebackers: Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds. The primary reason why I liked the Dolphins enough to bet three units on them last week was because Milano and Edmunds were both out of the lineup. Gesicki feasted on scrub linebackers as a result. Higbee will be able to do the same, but not if the starters return. Thus, seeing the injury report is imperative for making this pick.
If the Rams can't exploit this advantage, they're going to have a tough time moving the chains. I still don't trust their offensive line, and I don't think their receivers will be able to get open against the Bills' excellent secondary.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: The Rams couldn't be stopped in Philadelphia, but their defense didn't play very well. They limited the Eagles to just 19 points, but they got lucky to receive two turnovers. Miles Sanders fumbled on the opening drive, while Carson Wentz threw a dumb interception into double coverage on a first down in the red zone to ruin a great drive. Philadelphia could have easily scored into the high 20s or low 30s.
Los Angeles quite simply doesn't have the same defense as last year. Dante Fowler, Cory Littleton and Wade Phillips are all gone, so this unit will be exposed eventually. The Littleton departure is especially huge because the Rams have a pedestrian linebacking corps as a result. With that in mind, I expect Josh Allen to have a great performance when scrambling.
It'll be tougher for Allen to throw into a great secondary, but he has a stellar receiving corps. Allen is also protected well. All of this factors into why he's made great strides this season. If Carson Wentz could keep the chains moving for most of the afternoon, Allen will be able to as well, especially given that he has the superior supporting cast at his disposal.
RECAP: I'm eager to see the injury report. I'm not going to have much interest in the Bills if their linebackers are sidelined - I may even bet the Rams - but if at least one of them is back, I'll have strong interest in wagering on Buffalo.
I see this as a statement game for the Bills. Everyone is talking about the Rams' 2-0 start, yet no one is discussing the Bills as a serious Super Bowl threat. I think they are, and I definitely believe that they're the better team in this matchup. Some will argue that the Bills "only" beat the Jets and Dolphins, but I'd counter by saying the Rams "only" beat the Cowboys and Eagles, two teams that would be a combined 0-4 had the Falcons picked up the ball on the onside attempt. The Dolphins and Jets are also 0-4, but the Bills have the superior roster compared to the Rams.
Given that the Bills are better with their linebackers, this spread is incorrect. My personal number is Buffalo -3.5, yet the computer model and DVOA are even more bullish, as they believe the right number is -4.
I'm going to mark down the Bills as a three-unit play for now, but that will obviously change if there are injury concerns.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The public money is beginning to cool off on the Rams. Still, the Rams are a public dog, and this line is too low.
SATURDAY NOTES: I was hoping for good news on the Bills linebackers, and it seems as though we've gotten it. Both Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds are questionable, but they each practiced every day this week, with Milano even getting in a full session on Friday. If both return, that's huge for the Bills. With decreased betting action on the Rams, I'm going to drop the unit count to two.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Both Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds will be back for Buffalo. This is great news, as you may know if you've read my analysis. I like selling a point to get to even vig, which you can do at Bookmaker.
The Motivation. Edge: Bills.
The Rams are a public dog, so that's added motivation for the Bills to win this statement game.
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Here's another scumbag:
I think I'd hate having a blue checkmark. It would be like getting a Fauxvid-19 vaccine. They'd have to force me into it, kicking and screaming.
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: Ben Roethlisberger may not quite be his old self, but he's much better than the decrepit quarterback we saw last year. We've been able to witness great glimpses from him, especially on his long bomb to Chase Claypool. He also makes some mistakes, including the poor interception he threw against Denver when he had an eternity in the pocket. However, things should improve for him as the season progresses.
This would entail getting David DeCastro back from injury. The All-Pro guard has been out of the lineup, which was especially problematic last week because the Steelers were down multiple offensive linemen against a fierce Denver defensive front. The Texans also have some talent up front with J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, so it'll be important for the Steelers to have DeCastro on the field.
If DeCastro returns, Roethlisberger will be able to torch Houston's horrible secondary with his talented receiving corps. If, however, DeCastro is out again, the Steelers will have many of their drives disrupted by heavy pressure.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: The Texans have looked like a shell of their former selves this year. Deshaun Watson, after all, had never played a single game without DeAndre Hopkins prior to 2020. Watson is still a great quarterback, but he has no help right now. His receivers can't get open, and his offensive line can't protect him.
Both will be severe issues in this contest. The Steelers have a good secondary that will prevent Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks from exploding. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is even better up front, so Watson will constantly be under siege.
I'm sure Bill O'Brien will try to counter by getting David Johnson heavily involved. This was O'Brien's master plan against the Ravens, but it backfired miserably, as Johnson did nothing. It turns out that Hopkins is a much more potent threat than Johnson!
RECAP: The sharps have already jumped on the Texans, bringing this line down from +5 to +3.5 or +4. As I discussed on the picks video last week, if you like a side, and the spread drops because of pro money, you should still bet on that team. This sort of a dynamic has a high success rate of hitting.
However, I'm not sure if I like the Texans. As you've probably guessed by now, I'm going to say that my interest in this game will depend greatly on DeCastro's availability. With right tackle Zach Banner out, the Steelers will need DeCastro to return against a desperate Houston team and its talented defensive front.
I'm going to mark down the Texans as a play for now because DeCastro didn't even practice last week, but this pick will change if DeCastro returns.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Reports indicate that David DeCastro will play, so I'm switching my selection to the Steelers. I may end up betting this game as well.
SATURDAY NOTES: David DeCastro was off the final injury report, which is great news for the Steelers. I'm confident enough to bet three units on Pittsburgh.
FINAL THOUGHTS: David DeCastro returning is huge, but the pros don't see it that way. There's lots of smart money coming in on the Texans for some reason. I can't find a reason why they would be ding this, but it's not ideal. I'm dropping this unit count down to two. The best vig you can find is at Bookmaker (-102).
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at New York Giants (0-2) Line: 49ers by 3.5. Total: 43. Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Giants.
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NEW YORK OFFENSE: It's truly amazing how many injuries both teams have suffered, especially on this side of the ball. Saquon Barkley, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, Sterling Shepard and Solomon Thomas are the players who will be missing when the Giants have possession against San Francisco's defense.
Even though Barkley is a phenomenal player, I'd say this exchange benefits the Giants. Their offensive line has disappointed this year, thanks to Nate Solder's decision to opt out of the season. However, the 49ers will have trouble taking advantage of that if Ford is out again because that would mean that three of their starting defensive linemen from last year are gone.
Daniel Jones should do well if he has plenty of time in the pocket. He still gets into trouble with poor ball security if he's under siege, but giving him more time in the pocket will allow him to connect with his plethora of talented receivers against a Sherman-less secondary.
SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: Jimmy Garoppolo will be out as well, as he's week to week with a high ankle sprain. This means that Nick Mullens will have to make his first start of the season.
Mullens is a smart, accurate quarterback, but thanks to his noodle arm, his upside is severely limited. The same could be said of his supporting cast's upside if George Kittle is sidelined again. The 49ers believe he will return, which would obviously be a huge boon to a team missing Deebo Samuel. However, Kittle himself isn't enough to take advantage of the Giants' shaky, albeit improved pass defense.
Raheem Mostert is out as well, which will diminish San Francisco's rushing attack. The Giants are much better versus the run than the pass, so they should be able to contain Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon.
RECAP: Ask yourself this: Does Nick Mullens deserve to be favored by four points on the road against a team that isn't terrible? I'd say the easy answer is no, and I don't think the Giants are terrible. They battled the Steelers well, and they were one play away from winning in Chicago. They can handle an injury-ravaged 49er squad.
This spread is definitely way off the mark. My personal spread is a pick 'em, which is exactly what the DVOA says it should be. We're getting great value with the Giants as home dogs, all while being able to fade a publicly backed, four-point road-favorite Mullens. That seems like a sweet deal to me!
We have some injuries to sift through, but I believe the Giants will end up being one of my top plays of the week. In fact, this could end up being my September NFL Pick of the Month. Let's hope for good news at the end of the week!
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: We're inching closer toward this being my September NFL Pick of the Month. It's nice to see that the smart money likes the Giants as well!
SATURDAY NOTES: The 49ers are a mess. They're down their top three defensive ends. They're down their top two downfield threats. They're down their top two running backs. They're down an important player at both linebacker and cornerback. And despite all this, Nick Mullens is favored by more than a field goal on the road. This is my September NFL Pick of the Month.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow, the sharps destroyed this spread this morning. I was typing up the analysis of the previous game when the line was driven down to +3 in every sportsbook. I can't find +3.5 anywhere. The reason for this is that on top of all the injuries the 49ers have already, they're also going to be without Ahkello Witherspoon, meaning they'll be down their top two cornerbacks against a talented receiving corps. I still love the Giants at +3. The best +3 available is for -105 vig at FanDuel and -103 at Bookmaker.
Week 3 NFL Pick: Giants 24, 49ers 20 Giants +3 -103 (8 Units - September NFL Pick of the Month) - Bookmaker -- Incorrect; -$825 Giants +150 (0.5 Units) - BetUS -- Incorrect; -$50 Over 43 (0 Units) -- Push; $0 49ers 36, Giants 9
Tennessee Titans (2-0) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2) Line: Titans by 3. Total: 49.5. Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
NFL Opinion Piece: Go here to read about the horrible decision made by the Steelers to honor a criminal. As a warning, this could be triggering to you if you have sand-in-the-vag syndrome (i.e. if you're a blue checkmark on Twitter.)
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: I've been writing that the Vikings must begin tanking for Trevor Lawrence. Kirk Cousins sucks, and he's been completely exposed ever since losing Stefon Diggs. He just looks lost right now, and if he takes another safety as a result of holding on to the ball too long, Viking fans may ship him off themselves.
Cousins will have a chance to rebound in this game, given how well Gardner Minshew played at Tennessee last week. Granted, the Titans were in a rough spot because they played the late Monday night contest in Week 1, but Drew Lock also had his positive moments against the Titans despite missing Courtland Sutton. Tennessee's secondary isn't the same without Adoree Jackson, so this is a nice opportunity for Cousins and Adam Thielen to rebound.
Running the ball will be a different matter. The Titans should be able to contain Dalvin Cook on most snaps, though Cook is talented enough to break loose without warning. The Vikings will need him to make a big play or two in order to pull the upset.
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: Mike Zimmer is a great defensive coach, so I figured he'd be able to turn one of his young cornerbacks into a surprise performer this year. Perhaps the odd offseason disrupted this from happening because Zimmer's cornerbacks are even worse than they were last year, which is saying a lot.
Ryan Tannehill has been hot to start the year, which is something I never thought I'd write. Tannehill was even missing A.J. Brown last week, so if Brown returns from injury, Tannehill should be able to dissect the Viking secondary with ease.
Derrick Henry might also have some success running the ball. The Vikings were projected to be stout versus the rush entering the year, but Michael Pierce's decision to opt out hurt the team. Making matters worse, Minnesota just lost Anthony Barr to a season-ending torn pectoral, which will only strengthen Henry's matchup.
RECAP: The Titans are coming off a win on Monday night and a victory versus a divisional opponent, so there's a non-zero chance they'll be flat against an 0-2 opponent. The Vikings, conversely, will be desperate to avoid 0-3. I'd say the motivational edge belongs to Minnesota.
That said, there's no guarantee that the Titans will be flat. If they aren't, the only edge is fading the betting action, which also entails picking the Vikings.
I'm not going to make this selection with much conviction, but I'm going to buy low with the Vikings. I'll have some interest in betting them at +3, but not at +2.5 unless there's some major injury news.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I have no feel for this game, but what I do know is that two weeks ago, this line would've been Minnesota -3. We're getting value with the Vikings. It might be bad value, but it's value nonetheless.
SATURDAY NOTES: A.J. Brown is out, but that won't get me to bet the Vikings at +2.5. Getting +3 -120 at Bovada is a different story. I may bet this Sunday morning.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought about betting the Vikings, but I'm not going to do it. It feels too much like catching a falling knife. I even considered switching to the Titans, but I'll stay with Minnesota for zero units. The best line is +3 -120 at Bovada.
The Motivation. Edge: Vikings.
The Vikings will be desperate to avoid 0-3.
Washington Redskins (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1) Line: Browns by 7. Total: 45. Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Browns.
College Football Opinion Piece: Go here to read about dumb journalist, Christine Brennan, who wrote that the Return of Big Ten Football is Worse Than Jerry Sandusky. As a warning, this could be triggering to you if you have sand-in-the-vag syndrome (i.e. if you're a blue checkmark on Twitter.)
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: The Browns looked terrible in the opener, but this was to be expected because they were battling an elite team that has a head coach who thrives on having extra time to prepare. John Harbaugh lived up to his status as one of the best in the business by thrashing Cleveland in Week 1.
The Browns, however, bounced back against the Bengals last Thursday night, as their rushing attack couldn't be stopped. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt broke countless tackles en route to a nice victory. While Chubb and Hunt could have some success in this contest - especially Hunt as a receiver out of the backfield - it'll be up to Baker Mayfield to lead the team to a decisive victory.
The Redskins don't have anyone to match up with the Browns' talented receivers. They also don't have the linebackers to cover Austin Hooper. Washington thrives on pressuring the quarterback, but Cleveland's offensive line should be able to counter the pass rush, allowing Mayfield to have enough time to locate Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Hooper.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: Things are looking up for the Browns, as they should be getting some reinforcements back from injury. They've been missing one of their top linebackers, Mack Wilson, and two of their top three cornerbacks, Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson. With extra time to prepare for this game, one or two of them should be able to return.
This will be a huge boon for the Browns, who already had a big advantage in the trenches. Cleveland's defensive line shouldn't have any sort of difficulty pressuring Dwayne Haskins or shutting down the run. The Browns already possessed a big edge with Myles Garrett and the rest of the talented linemen versus a poor Redskin offensive front. Now, Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff will be sidelined with an injury.
I have no idea how the Redskins will block Garrett and the rest of the Browns. Haskins won't be able to move the chains outside of garbage time as a result.
RECAP: The Browns have a huge matchup edge in this game with Scherff out of the lineup. In the NFL, if you can't block, you can't win, and the Redskins can't block without Scherff.
I'll be betting the Browns. The number units will depend on how many players Cleveland gets back from injury, but this could be as high as a five-unit wager.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: We're still awaiting the all-important Friday injury report. This could be a big play.
SATURDAY NOTES: Man, I was really hoping we could fade the Redskins with a high play on the Browns. Unfortunately, Cleveland is very banged up. Cornerback Kevin Johnson may return, but Denzel Ward missed Friday's practice, so he could be sidelined along with Greedy Williams, who has already been ruled out. Meanwhile, two of the top three defensive ends - Olivier Vernon, Adrian Clayborn - won't be around to harass Dwayne Haskins behind a Brandon Scherff-less offensive line. I may add units back if Ward and Clayborn are ruled active Sunday morning, but I'm dropping the unit count for now.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Browns are getting tons of reinforcements back into the lineup today. Denzel Ward, Kevin Johnson, Mack Wilson and Adrian Clayborn will all play. Ward hasn't missed action, but he was seen as uncertain to play. It's huge that all of them will be on the field. I don't think the Redskins stand a chance against them now, so I'm increasing my unit count. The best line is -7 -108 at Bookmaker.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) Line: Eagles by 6. Total: 46.5. Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
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CINCINNATI OFFENSE: Howie Roseman has been a great general manager, but the linebacking corps he assembled this offseason was a major oversight. Philadelphia might have the worst linebacking corps I've ever seen in nearly 21 years of covering the NFL. The unit looked so helpless against the Rams' play-action fakes, as Jared Goff had a field day throwing to Tyler Higbee.
With extra time to prepare, I'm sure the Bengals' coaching staff noticed this and has prepared Joe Burrow to attack the Eagles similarly. Drew Sample is no Higbee, but he looked good on Thursday. He's a young tight end with plenty of promise, and I could see him having a breakout game. Burrow should also do well when scrambling; this was not something the Eagles had to worry about with Goff, but it's a new element they likely won't be able to contain.
Burrow's weapons should also have success. Joe Mixon figures to run well and also serve as a potent threat out of the backfield. Tyler Boyd figures to thrive as well, as A.J. Green battles Darius Slay.
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: While the Eagle linebackers are epically terrible, the Bengals' linebackers aren't much better. They whiffed on countless tackles while trying to bring down Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt last Thursday night. Granted, Chubb and Hunt are two talented backs, but the number of missed tackles were eye-opening.
The Bengals could have similar problems defending Miles Sanders. The slippery running back played well last week outside of the fumble on the opening drive, and yet this matchup might be even better for him. That all depends on whether or not the Bengals get Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels back from injury. The two talented defensive tackles were missing against the Browns, so getting even one back would be a nice boost for a reeling Bengal defense.
Cincinnati may also have trouble dealing with Carson Wentz if both defensive tackles are missing. Atkins will be needed to provide pressure on Wentz, who could take advantage of the Bengal linebackers with his two gifted tight ends if he has the time in the pocket.
RECAP: You may have noticed that my projected spread for this game is Philadelphia -1.5. That's not a misprint. I rate the Bengals and Eagles equally, so Philadelphia -2 would be the correct number with hosts getting two points this year. The half point in Cincinnati's favor comes from having extra time to prepare.
Maybe I'm crazy, or maybe I'm overreacting, but I think this Philadelphia squad sucks. The team has no downfield threats; it can't block well; it can't rush the passer all that well; the linebackers are the worst in two decades; and the secondary has some holes. The Bengals have their problems as well, but at least they have some hope with Atkins and Daniels potentially returning from injury.
I'm going to bet the Bengals if they get at least one of Atkins or Daniels to return. Hopefully we get good news later in the week.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread is sinking because the sharps are betting the Bengals heavily. Can you blame them?
SATURDAY NOTES: The Bengals are going to be missing Geno Atkins again, but Mike Daniels will return. That's huge for Cincinnati's chances of winning this game. The sharps are dragging this line down in Cincinnati's direction, which makes me more confident that the Bengals are the right side.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I mentioned Saturday that the sharps were betting this line down. Apparently, this was phantom spread movement so they could get the Eagles at -4. There's more smart money on Philadelphia than Cincinnati. I still like the Bengals a bit, but I won't be betting this game. The best line is +6 -113 at Bookmaker. Six is an important number, so I'd pay for it.
Chicago Bears (2-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-2) Line: Falcons by 3. Total: 47. Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Bears.
Video of the Week: It sucked not having preseason this year. Preparing for fantasy football was more difficult, but the worst part was not being able to listen to Ron Wolfley. Luckily, there's a compilation on YouTube:
I really miss not making fun of inept team announcers during the preseason. I look forward to doing so next summer!
ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons had quite the collapse against the Cowboys, but their offense doesn't deserve too much blame. Julio Jones was guilty of a brutal drop, but the rest of the scoring unit did what was asked of it. The defense and the special teams were the catalysts for the epic choke job.
That said, the offense may have trouble in this game, considering the matchup. I don't fully trust Atlanta's offensive line to protect Matt Ryan against Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks. The Cowboys can't bring pressure, so this wasn't a factor this past Sunday, but it certainly was the previous Sunday when the Seahawks disrupted many drives.
The Bears will be able to limit Atlanta's play-makers as well, though there are enough holes in the linebacking corps and secondary for Ryan to have some success.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: Mitchell Trubisky has played better than expected thus far. It would be unbelievable without looking at the opponents. Trubisky was brutal in the opener until the Lions lost their top three cornerbacks to injury, allowing Trubisky to generate an epic, fourth-quarter comeback. Last week, Trubisky then took advantage of a Giants' pass defense that isn't very good despite some improvements made this offseason.
Believe it or not, Trubisky could post his best game of 2020 this week because the Falcons have an even worse aerial defense! Their defensive backs are woefully putrid, so Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller will be open all afternoon.
Atlanta is at least better against the run than the pass, so David Montgomery won't do much on the ground. That said, he and Tarik Cohen might be able to do some damage as receiving threats out of the backfield, mimicking what Chris Carson was able to accomplish in Week 1.
RECAP: Who did the Falcons sleep with to be favored by more than a field goal? This line makes no sense to me. I'm not a believer in the Bears, but the Falcons stink! Their defense is atrocious, and I don't think their offensive line can block well against teams with good defensive fronts. Chicago certainly has one of those.
Despite the spread being off - my number is Atlanta -3, while the computer model believes -1 is correct - there's a ton of public action coming in on the Falcons. I don't get it, but I'll gladly bet against it.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Here's another game where the smart money is on the underdog. I can't say I'm surprised that the pros bet Chicago at +3.5.
SATURDAY NOTES: Things aren't looking good for the Falcons. Their secondary was already terrible, and now they might be without their star rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell and both of their top edge rushers, as Takk McKinley and Dante Fowler put in one combined limited practice this week. Furthermore, Julio Jones failed to practice all week. We've seen the impact that absent No. 1 receivers have had on their teams this year. The Bears are looking much better than I initially anticipated.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps were betting on the Bears throughout the week, and now we know why. Julio Jones is out. This spread has fallen to +2.5 in many sportsbooks, but you can still get +3 -120 at BetUS.
Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games
Jets at Colts, Panthers at Chargers, Buccaneers at Broncos, Lions at Cardinals, Cowboys at Seahawks, Packers at Saints, Chiefs at Ravens
A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 6, 2020): 5-9 (-$2,365)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 6, 2020): 1-5 (-$1,120)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 6, 2020): 0-2 (-$925)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 6, 2020): 9-5 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 6, 2020): -$220
2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 0-1, 0% (-$825)
2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 54-34-3, 61.4% (+2,960) 2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 19-13-2, 59.4% (+$215) 2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 15-7, 68.2% (+$3,465) 2020 Season Over-Under: 44-45-2, 49.4% ($0) 2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$80
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$3,585) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$6,105) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$4,235) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,880) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,335) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$7,445) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$7,825) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$3,215) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$780) 2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$4,300) 2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 140-134-14, 51.3% (+$845) 2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395) 2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670) 2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595) 2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735) 2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640) 2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225) 2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510 2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495 2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100) 2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780) 2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040) 2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640) 2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,911-2,671-175, 52.1% (+$13,265) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 929-829-47 (52.8%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 430-381-22 (53.0%) Career Over-Under: 2,367-2,339-63 (50.3%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 43-29-1 (59.7%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.